Planning Minister Guy and the NE Link Project

By Ian Hundley

Planning Minister and Northern Metropolitan Province MP, Matthew Guy, has recently written to Friends of Banyule

to reaffirm that the North East Link project is not a Coalition Government commitment. (Click here to read the letter:  Matthew Guy re NE Link.)

However, the project is still listed on the VicRoads website  amongst a number of other road project proposals  (see http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/RoadProjects/PlanningAndProposals/Melbourne/NorthEastLink.htm )

According to the VicRoads website “The North East Link is being reviewed as part of the Metropolitan Planning Strategy. It is anticipated that this strategy will be completed within two years.”

The Victorian Government announced early in 2011 that it will prepare a new metropolitan planning strategy to manage Melbourne’s growth and change over the next 30-40 years.

The strategy is addressing housing choice, transport accessibility, economic growth, environmental protection; and infrastructure and services to support growth. Understandably Minister Guy and Public Transport and Roads Minister Terry Mulder are the two key ministers in the development of the strategy.

Inquiries made of the Department of Planning and Community Development indicate that there are plans for public consultation on the proposed new metropolitan planning strategy but it has not been revealed when they will occur or what form these consultations will take.

The approach to the mooted North-East Link project is broadly indicative of the dominant role that roads planning has assumed over many years in Victoria relative to planning for public transport. VicRoads and other roads authorities work continuously on a suite of funding bids for projects to increase the capacity of the road network. It is quite different for public transport, which is systematically underfunded and has been characterised, at best, by haphazard government  efforts to develop projects to improve the capability of train, tram and bus services.

From a planning perspective, the consistent underrating of public transport over many decades has contributed to the added household costs and the environmental degradation of urban sprawl that is now the most dominant feature of metropolitan Melbourne.

The Baillieu government’s new metropolitan planning strategy, when it is finally revealed, needs to have as a priority the reclaiming of urban space by the reduction of car dependency in Melbourne and a rerating of public transport. In doing so, Friends of Banyule will be looking forward to the North East Link proposal being ruled out once and for all. It will be a straightforward test of the Baillieu government’s mettle.

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About Friends of Banyule Inc

President & Public Officer of Friends of Banyule Inc, a community not- for-profit organisation to enhance and protect the environmental assets of Banyule City. Currently fighting the proposed NE Link freeway through one of inner Melbourne's most ecologically sensitive areas and historical areas.
This entry was posted in Baillieu Government, Banyule Flats, Car Dependency, Doncaster Rail, Hurstbridge rail line, Investment in Rail, Metro Trains, Ne-Link Freeway, Public Transport, Road Lobby, SmartBus, Trains, Uncategorized, Vic Roads and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Planning Minister Guy and the NE Link Project

  1. Tony Beaver says:

    “The strategy is addressing housing choice, transport accessibility, economic growth, environmental protection; and infrastructure and services to support growth”. Politicians are all too easily judging their aims and success by economic growth and the GDP. It has become a euphemism for population growth – the no-brainer and unsustainable route to creating cash flows. It’s about the business lobby having control of government policies. The time of growth must end, and we should be looking at a sustainable economy, a stable population, and consolidation of what we have for a long and high-quality future. There are limits to growth and they are ignored at our peril. Per capita wealth is declining, and if we lose natural assets and environmental qualities, then there is nothing to be gained by ongoing growth, and so many risks and much to lose. The benefits of Heidelberg’s precious and heritage wetlands, native vegetation and artistic heritage must be protected from politicians vying for destructive malignant growth at our expense.

  2. peter says:

    The time of growth must end??? are you communist or crazy??? There will be no environmental impact to the wetlands & current housing with tunnels constructed as per the government plans.If you didn’t realise business is what drives this country & makes this country prosperous.Melbourne needs new freeways to ease congestion on our outdated roads.THere will be no freeway through Banyule it will go under Banyule so stop spreading lies with you signs all over the place.

    • VivKay says:

      Once we have come to an optimum population size that maximises our economy and infrastructure, continuing to grow our cities will not bring prosperity, but increasing poverty – as we are seeing now. Due to unaffordable housing, mortgages have become a tool to bleed the savings and earnings from average workers. Demand for infrastructure and public services always outpace our population growth – at a doubling rate now of less than 50 years. We have increasing homelessness, and cuts to public housing. Many families are unable to afford the costs of utilities. And, as for your “no environmental impact to the wetland” is absurd – they will be impacted forever and wildlife will flee! Due to costs constraints, there won’t be a tunnel but an unsightly freeway/bridge. Not only are there environmental limits to growth, increasing debt and energy prices means that economic growth will end – it’s unavoidable. There is no precedent for unending and perpetual growth on a finite planet- only in the minds of fools!

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